How to Freeze Food – Everything from Milk to Pancakes

If you’ve purchased more than you should of one ingredient or have made a triple batch of a favorite recipe and wondered “can I freeze this?” I’m going to share with you how to freeze everything from bread to butter (and everything in between).

image: freezer full of food

Today, you’ll see how to safely freeze your family’s favorite foods. This will help you make fewer trips to the grocery store and have you ready to make simple future meals with ingredients on hand.

One of my top tips is to order chicken and other meats online. I’ve been doing this for months through Perdue farms, and it’s only become more useful recently to help me stock my freezer.

If you want to make simple meals with pantry staples -many items from your freezer- check out the Pantry Staples Meal Plan. Inside, you’ll find 2-weeks of delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinners using ingredients you have on hand.

image: four photos in a collage showing clean meal ideas, text reads "healthy meal plan with pantry staples - cook with what you have!"

Dairy Products

Milk: You can freeze milk in a glass or plastic container. Simply make sure you empty out or drink an inch or two of milk from the top of the jar before freezing as the milk will expand when frozen.
How long it lasts: 3-6 months
How to thaw: In the fridge & shake well before serving

Butter: Keep butter sticks in their original wrapper and freeze! I highly suggest placing them in a freezer bag to prevent the butter stick from getting lost in the freezer or absorbing odors.
How long it lasts: up to 6 months
How to thaw: in the fridge, or use frozen if a recipe calls for very cold butter

Cheese: You can freeze cheese in block form or shredded. It’s best not to freeze cheese by the slice. Wrap it tightly or store it in an airtight container and freeze. Hard and semi-hard cheese freeze better than soft cheeses.
How long it lasts: 6-9 months
How to thaw: in the refrigerator

Eggs: Okay, I know eggs aren’t actually dairy. But you can usually find them in the same section of the store, so I added them here.

To freeze, crack the eggs in a bowl (I like to freeze 2 at a time), mix the eggs, and pour the mixture into a freezer-safe bag. You can also freeze egg whites and yolks separately.
How long it lasts: up to a year
How to thaw: allow to thaw in the refrigerator when you are ready to use them or run the zip bag under warm water for a couple of minutes.

image: six brown eggs in a fridge

How to Freeze Produce

Bananas: Slice the bananas into chunks and place them in a zip bag or other freezer-safe container. If you don’t have time to slice, you can also place a whole banana, in peel in the freezer.
How long it lasts: 6 months
How to thaw: can thaw on the counter, but warning, frozen bananas look gross, so use them in banana recipes right away after thawing!

Berries: You can freeze berries whole or sliced. Simply wash and dry them completely first, then lay them out on a lined baking sheet. Freeze the sheet of berries for about 2 hours. Then transfer the berries to a freezer-safe bag or container.
How long it lasts: up to 3 months
How to thaw: in the refrigerator, or on the counter

image: frozen strawberries and blueberries on a baking tray. Image text reads "how to freeze berries"

Vegetable Puree: This is a great option for adding “hidden” vegetables to sauces and other meals – see more uses for vegetable puree here. After pureeing the vegetables, pour into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, pop the cubes out into a freezer bag to store.
How long it lasts: 3-6 months
How to thaw: in the refrigerator or on the counter

How to Freeze Everything Else

Bread: You can freeze it by the loaf or by the slice. Just be sure the bread is fresh when you freeze it because the freezer can’t do anything about stale bread. Place the bread in a freezer-safe container or keep it in the bag it came in and freeze.
How long it lasts: 3 months
How to thaw: on the counter

image: high angle view of loaf of bread

Pizza Dough: Mix all of your pizza dough ingredients but do not let it rise after adding the yeast. Shape the mixture into a ball and cover lightly with flour. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, place in a freezer bag and freeze.
How long it lasts: 3 months
How to thaw: Remove dough from freezer and unwrap. Place in a large bowl in a warm place, cover and let rise for 8 hours. The prepare as normal.

Biscuits: Make biscuit dough and shape into rounds. Place, unbaked, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze for a couple of hours until solid. Store the frozen biscuits in a freezer container.
How long it lasts: 3 months
How to thaw: Can bake directly from the freezer, simply add 2-3 minutes to the cooking time.

Muffins: Bake muffins and allow them to cool. Freeze them for about an hour until solid, then transfer to a freezer bag to store.
How long it lasts: 2 months
How to thaw: Remove muffins from the freezer and warm up in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute
You can also freeze muffin batter, following the instructions in this post.

Rice: Cook and cool the rice. Portion it out into snack or sandwich size sip bags for single or family-sized servings.

You can also freeze the single rice portions in a silicone muffin pan, and then put the frozen pucks into a freezer bag. That way you only have to use one bag, but you have the easy, single-serving sizes!
How long it lasts: 1 month
How to thaw: in the refrigerator in by placing the bag in a bowl of warm water. More rice thawing options here.

Pasta: Slightly undercook your noodles, this will help prevent mushiness when re-heating. Drain & toss with oil to keep from clumping. Spread flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Portion frozen noodles into freezer bags or containers for freezer storage.
How long it lasts: 1 to 2 months
How to thaw: Re-heat in boiling water for 30 seconds.
More freezing & reheating pasta options here.

Smoothies/Smoothie Packs: Place all of your smoothie ingredients into a bag except the liquid base and freeze! It’s really that simple.
How long it lasts: up to 3 months
How to thaw: No need to thaw, simply add the liquid base and frozen ingredients to your blender when you’re ready to make your smoothie.
Grab some smoothie recipe inspiration here.

image: 3 smoothie freezer packs in ziploc bags

Pancakes: Make your favorite pancake recipe (or gluten-free version) and allow them to cool. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Then, remove from the baking sheet and store in a freezer-safe bag.
How long it lasts: 3 months
How to thaw: Remove pancakes from the freezer and reheat in the microwave or toaster oven until warm.

Waffles: Cook using your favorite waffle recipe and allow to fully cool. Place on a sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 2 hours. Once frozen place in a freezer bag or container.
How long it lasts: 3 months
How to thaw: Reheat in the microwave or toaster straight from the freezer.

Cookie Dough: Make cookie dough, scoop and line cookies side by side on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put the baking sheet in the freezer until the cookies are completely frozen. Then, place individual cookies in a freezer-safe bag or container.
How long it lasts: 3 months
How to thaw: No need to thaw! Simply bake straight from the freezer.

Sandwiches: Make each sandwich like normal, then place in a zip bag to freeze. If you’re wanting to pre-make a lot of sandwiches you can stack them re-use the bag the loaf came in, just make sure to double-bag it if you use this option, placing one bag inside the other. For more detailed instructions and different types of freezable sandwiches, check ou this post.
How long it lasts: 3 months
How to thaw: pull the sandwiches out of the freezer and thaw in a lunchbox or on the counter.
You can also make your own uncrustables and freeze them!

Freezer Meals

Now that you know how to freeze most of your essentials, how about freezing full meals? I shared instructions on how to freeze full meals and soups as well as the top recipes on my site here.

Of course, I could resist sharing a couple of my favorite freezer-friendly recipes right here, to help get you started.

Recipe: Breakfast Burritos
This breakfast burrito recipe is the perfect quick and easy breakfast. You can make a whole batch ahead of time, then freeze individually for easy reheating at breakfast time.

image: homemade freezer breakfast burritos in a small lunchbx.

Recipe: Homemade Breakfast Sandwiches
These homemade English Muffin Breakfast Sandwiches are a breeze to make and can be frozen for a quick portable breakfast! How-to video included.

Recipe: Paleo Chili
This is the most popular recipe on my personal site, and it’s a freezer-friendly recipe! You can easily double or triple this one to make sure your freezer is fully stocked with tasty chili.

Recipe: Pizza Chicken
This low carb pizza chicken has all the goodness of cheesy pizza without the guilt. It’s one skillet, weeknight dinner the whole family will love! And once you’ve made it, it’s easily stored in the freezer so you can enjoy it later.

Best equipment for freezing food

When freezing food, you want to be sure that you have the right tools to help your food stay fresh for as long as possible. Here are a few of my must-haves.

Plastic Food Storage
Leakproof, freezer-friendly, microwaveable. These containers really do it all, as long as you don’t mind using plastic for your reusable containers.

Heavy Duty Freezer Bags
Inexpensive, easy, and they fit A LOT of food. If you don’t like using plastic, these reusable ones work great too.

Glass meal prep
You’ll want to allow the food some time to defrost before heating in the microwave. We don’t want any shattered glass.

Two bonus tips

Two important things to keep in mind when freezing food:

  • Don’t re-freeze your food – Once you’ve thawed your frozen foods, you don’t want to place them back in the freezer. This is why I often freeze foods in single-serving sizes so that I can only take out what I need and leave the rest frozen.
  • Label everything – Make sure that you clearly label everything you freeze with a use-by date. That way, you don’t forget when you froze something or, how long it can safely remain frozen.

Lastly, while freezing meat and thawing chicken and other meats is something most of us have been doing for a long time, finding the meat you need can be a challenge in stores right now. Here’s how I order chicken online and keep my freezer stocked.

About MOMables - Laura

Mom to 3 kids, obsessed with coffee, meal planning, and helping you cook fresh meals for your family fast!